The Psychology of Kindness

On the human need for personal kindness and kindness of others, and what it means for the future of humanity

Kindness or benevolence is a very important psychological attribute. We are kind to others for various altruistic and sometimes selfish reasons. An individual may be kind to a homeless man and give him a blanket because of sympathetic and empathetic reasons or a man may be kind to a woman due to ulterior motives. Kindness is thus triggered from personal motivations including need for fame or reputation, need for love or companionship or from genuine empathetic and sympathetic considerations.

Kindness towards a homeless man is a sympathetic type. whereas kindness kindness towards a friend is an empathetic type.

Kindness towards someone in need may come from altruism or need for personal reputation. For example, your act of kindness may arise from your need to be seen as a good Samaritan or a benevolent member of society. Or a man may be kind towards others because he needs fame for his donations and gifts to society. A man may be kind to men or women as there may be a need to gain other people’s affections, love, sexual favors, respect or companionship. So kindness may be motivated by empathy, sympathy, need for reputation, respect or other ulterior motives.

Some people are naturally kind and cannot refuse if someone asks them for a favor. Kindness is related more to mental strength than weakness. Developing a theory of kindness in psychology could involve studying the activity of the brain and neural circuits when people suddenly feel this emotion of overwhelming kindness. Thus a physiological basis is important in a psychological theory of kindness. There may also be “kindness gene” and some people may be kinder than others due to hereditary reasons, they may have had a kind parent and thus inherited the trait. Kindness can be learnt through social conditioning and some people are kind because they watched and learnt from their parents or teachers.

I personally believe that kindness is an innate psychological trait and some people are more kind because they are born that way. I will not go back to the nature versus nurture debates but learning kindness from others may finally become too superficial if there is no innate natural kindness. So, I would suggest that kindness is innate and kind people are born that way.

Psychologists must definitely study the kindness gene and if there is any, what triggers kindness, what kind of emotion or neural activity is related to kindness and how it can be defined in psychological terms. The social conditioning of kindness is a possible theory and as I said, social conditioning may not finally lead to genuine kindness in individuals, as kindness I believe is inherent or innate and not taught or learned.

I wrote in my other essay on Altruism that altruism, which is a more purposeful or social kindness could be due to ulterior or unconscious motives of recognition. Do philanthropists always give away wealth because they are genuinely kind or are they looking for fame, reputation, respect and recognition for their philanthropic services?

Kindness could be based on sympathy, empathy, need for fame or personal recognition or a sense of duty or responsibility towards society or fellow citizens. So, some kids are kind, give away their clothes to homeless people, because they are naturally kind and sympathetic. Some may see a homeless person and feel empathy as they too may have been homeless at some point. Some men may intentionally develop personal kindness because they need fame and recognition and others feel a sense of strong responsibility towards society and perform kind acts. So there are specifically six reasons suggesting six types of kindness according to the underlying reason or cause.

1. Empathetic

2. Sympathetic

3. Altruistic or social

4. Motive oriented

5. Responsible

6. Superstition-based

These six different types can be elaborated with more examples. You feel sympathetic towards your dog and loosen his chain and you feel empathetic towards your friend and help them with advice or resources. People may feel a genuine altruistic need to give or they may have ulterior motives such as fame, recognition or even money and success. The kindness related to social responsibility comes from a genuine need to influence society, and kindness in older people is often accompanied by this overwhelming sense of responsibility towards other human beings so this is a type of social kindness.

I would suggest that children are more triggered by genuine sympathy and the adults are motivated by need for recognition or social responsibility when they engage in acts of kindness.

Sometimes you will see people leaving large amounts of cash in the Church or donating large amounts of money to others because they feel it will bring them good luck. This is superstition-based or can be termed as “superstitional” kindness. Let us turn to responsibility. Some individuals are “kind” towards a cause because they may feel responsible towards society and may want to do something about the cause. You see an ad to donate clothes and money to refugees in a foreign country. You immediately decide to give a large sum quite impulsively. Is this impulse due to genuine sympathy, empathy, responsibility, altruism, superstition or recognition need? As I wrote in the essay on the Psychology of Altruism, there may be ulterior motives for being altruistic and genuine selfless altruism is rare or non-existent. However, kindness or generosity as a result of social responsibility or responsibility towards other less privileged individuals may be considered as an altruistic type of kindness. So, altruism and social responsibility are associated in fundamental ways.

Now let me talk about the human need for kindness and this means both giving kindness and receiving kindness. Humans do have a genuine need for love, affection, happiness and also kindness. Kindness comes from love, affection, sympathy, empathy so may be considered a type of secondary or derived emotion rather than primary emotion such as love or anger. Let us say, sympathy creates kindness but it is necessary to give and receive kindness because human beings are social beings. Kindness creates a bond between the giver and the receiver and in cases when you are showing kindness to a cause, it is a generic social or altruistic kindness. It also creates your emotional bond with society and your cause. So, giving creates social bonds and that is why it exists in the first place. Kindness created social bonds and helped build families and societies. On the other hand, receiving also evokes a sense of gratitude among the receivers of kind acts and helps to create attachments and generosity. If you are generous towards a homeless man, he may learn from you and become generous towards others when he is no longer homeless. So, kindness develops or creates a cycle of positive interaction in society. Such positive interactions are at the core of social change, transformations and a spirit of genuine concern for each other. This is ultimately the goal of humanity.

How Much Salary Does a Psychologist Get?


They can work in a wide variety of settings that includes private businesses, schools, group or private facilities, and hospitals. Clinical psychologists use their wide variety of skills and knowledge of the human mind and behavior to treat patients with a wide variety of issues. Clinical psychologists commonly help patients readjust to life after a life-changing event, like divorce, death, or can help patients with other mental or physical illnesses. They often work in one-on-one settings with patients to help them evaluate, diagnose, and provide appropriate treatment for mental and emotional illness. Counseling psychologists often do much of the same but they also help their patients to understand and deal with their problems. They help the patients indicate methods for treating their own issues, often dealing with behavioral or substance abuse problems. Industrial-organizational psychologists are another popular specialization. This field of psychology deals with the study of work place behavior, and industrial-organizational psychologists usually work in the private sector, helping companies to select the ideal employee and to maximize productivity.

Education, Training and Certification

For you to become a psychologist, a master’s or doctorate degree in Psychology is almost certainly needed. However, there are certain perquisites before enrolling in one of these. You will need a bachelor’s degree, and some Ph.D. programs require a master’s degree before you can enroll. While strong undergraduate grades are not necessarily required, they certainly will help you be admitted to a graduate program. At the completion of doctoral programs, students are required to complete a yearlong internship as part of the program. The amount of education and degrees requires varies upon which specialty one wishes to enter. Admission to master’s and Ph.D. programs can be competitive and often require either an undergraduate degree in psychology or clinical practice or coursework.

Psychologists will require workplace training before obtaining a license, like face-to-face interaction and work experience are very important aspects of the job. In all states, psychologists who practice independently must have a license. Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a doctorate in psychology, an internship, and one to two years of professional experience and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Many specific fields of psychology, like school psychologist, may require a specific certification to practice. Certain workplaces, such as hospitals, may also require specific or additional licenses and certifications.

Average Annual Salary

The average annual salary of psychologist is $72,220. This is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and dividing that value by the total number of employees. The lowest 10% of all psychologists can expect to make less than $$38,450 each year while others with more experience in the top 10% can expect well over $109,340 each year.

Factors that Affects the Psychologist Salary

Psychologist salaries vary according to the area of psychology, with clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earning an average $72,220; industrial-organizational psychologist salary is, on average, $98,800; and the average for all other psychologist salary is $86,380. In general, the highest paid psychologists are those working in the industrial organizational sector that includes in areas such as human resources, administration, and management, as well as sales and marketing. Of these, those working in management, scientific, and technical consulting services have the highest average salary, at $125,980.

• Education and Specialization – A psychologist requires a master’s as well as a doctoral degree in psychology at minimum. The master’s program can be in either arts or sciences of psychology. At the doctoral level, for those wishing to engage in psychologist services for clients, a one-year internship with supervision is generally required. Some schools allow students to enter a doctoral program immediately following a bachelor’s degree, reducing the time spent in school. While there are positions for those holding only a master’s degree (a shorter program than a doctoral one), a doctoral degree will yield a higher salary.

• Experience and Position – The majority of psychologists have a doctoral degree, and so increased experience on the job will result in a higher salary. Advanced-level positions will pay higher than entry-level. In addition, particular specializations are in higher demand, such as neuropsychologists or engineering psychologists. However, industrial-organizational positions tend to be the most lucrative.

• Industry – With the multiplicity of possible areas for focus in psychology, the industry is highly variable. However, as mentioned, industrial-organizational psychologists tend to earn the highest wages. While a starting salary for a master’s holder will be in the $40,000 range, a doctorate-level entry position will receive above $50,000. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the top five percent of their earners have a salary greater than $250,000 per year.

• Location – While the greatest number of jobs for psychologists tends to be in more densely populated areas such as California and New York, the demand in more rural regions will yield a higher salary. While this is highly dependent on the specialization chosen, area such as Rhode Island and Hawaii, along with New York, pay better than others, averaging above $90,000 for most focuses.

Pass The EPPP (Examination For Professional Practice in Psychology)

To pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) you need help, a strategy. You can not just walk in to an examination center, sit down, and pass this examination without preparing. 

How Important is the EPPP?

The EPPP is one of the most important tests a psychologist will ever sit for. 

No matter how well you did in your graduate school classes. No matter how great you did on comprehensive examinations. Or how brilliant your dissertation defense was. Or how many journals accepted articles based on your dissertation. You may have been the star at your internship. Your internship director may have held you up as the model intern. Yet, despite it all…

If You Don’t Pass the EPPP…

If you fail the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology you will have very limited practice opportunities in the US or Canada. You will, virtually, be unable to practice anywhere without passing the it. At least not in any state or province that has a board of psychology that is a member of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The only exceptions to requiring you to pass this exam being Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Yet even Quebec requires applicants from outside the province to pass the exam before they are allowed to practice.

The list of professional activities that you are restricted from when you are not licensed is long: You can’t have private patients. You can’t get insurance company reimbursement. You can’t print “Licensed Psychologist” on your business cards. Many employers require that you be licensed. Basically, if you can’t pass the EPPP you’ll have thrown away years of graduate study and thousands of dollars on education, and all the sacrifices you made.

The EPPP Defined

The EPPP is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Every psychologist who wants to hang out a shingle in any state in the USA or in almost any province in Canada needs to successfully complete it.

Who Makes the EPPP?

An organization in Montgomery, AL creates and markets the EPPP to State and Provincial psychology boards.

Content of the EPPP

The EPPP contains these 8 domains: Ethical, legal, and professional issues, Treatment, intervention, and prevention, Social and multi-cultural bases of behavior, Biological bases of behavior, Assessment and diagnosis, Cognitive-affective bases of behavior, Research methods and statistics, and Growth and life-span development.

EPPP Administration

The EPPP is made up of two hundred twenty-five multiple choice questions. The examinee has four hours and fifteen minutes exactly, to finish the exam.

The exam is administered via computer. The examinee locates and sits for the exam at a Prometric Test Center.

It’s natural to assume that having attained a PhD or PsyD in psychology, having passed an accredited graduate program in psychology, completed an internship, and defended a dissertation or research project you would be able to easily pass the exam. Or perhaps pass it with a bit of review. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Why EPPP Questions are Difficult

On the EPPP, examinees must pick the “best” answer, not necessarily the “right” answer. Wording is often inverse. Questions may specify “all are true except” or “all are false except.” Discriminating fine differences between the answers on this psychology exam can be very challenging.

The questions on the exam require you to not only be familiar with each of the eight domains, but to demonstrate the application of that knowledge.

It is not realistic to believe that you can prepare minimally for the EPPP, or prepare in the same manner you have in the past for examinations. Nor is it realistic to prepare minimally and simply plan on continually retesting until you pass the test. There are several reasons for this.

EPPP Registration Expenses

One reason that makes it unrealistic to keep retesting is the high cost. Each administration of the EPPP costs you $450. Each sitting at the Prometric Test Center to sit for the psychology exam costs $68.

State and Provincial psychology boards require the payment of licensing and administration fees before you are allowed to take the exam. You must obtain an Authorization to Test letter from your psychology board before the ASPPB will allow you to register for the psychology examination. Psychology board costs related to licensing and sitting for the exam, depending on where you live, can be upwards of a thousand dollars.

How Many Times Can I Take the EPPP?

Another reason it is unrealistic to repeatedly retake the EPPP is that there are limitations on how many times you can take it. The ASPPB restricts you to taking the exam four times annually, while your local psychology board may restrict you even further. After a certain number of unsuccessful attempts on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology many psychology boards require you to convince them why you should be allowed to try to pass the exam again. Before you can take the test again your psychology board may require you to take additional classwork, gain further experience, or undergo supervision (for example).

All of these additional requirements can add significantly to the time it takes you to pass the EPPP.

Financial Costs of Retesting on the EPPP

Retakes of the EPPP are not free. You must pay the full fee to ASPPB ($450) and to Prometric ($68) each time you sit for the exam. Your psychology board will also charge you additional administration fees to reapply for another authorization letter to retake the exam. In all, the process of sitting for and passing this test are quite costly.

How to Pass the EPPP

So, in summary, passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology is a difficult undertaking that requires special preparation. However, help is available. Web sites, such as How To Pass The EPPP Without Even Trying! exist to make the process easier. With careful preparation, an understanding of the structure of the exam, the proper exam study materials, and test taking strategies specific to the EPPP, you can and will pass the test.

Evidence-Based Educational Interventions

This paper provides an overview of evidence-based educational interventions (EBEIs) and associated practices in school psychology. The profession has, for some time, embraced scientific principles and procedures across areas of professional practice, including diagnosis and classification, assessment, prevention and intervention, consultation, and research and program evaluation. More recently, the profession has embraced evidence-based prevention and intervention practices, intending to implement them in schools. However, doing so requires addressing multiple scientific and practice agendas, including preservice and in-service professional development, systemic school change to promote prevention and intervention program implementation, comprehensive models of mental health and educational services, and the sustainability of evidence-based practices.

Five issues need to be addressed for significant progress to occur in the evidence-based practice movement: (a) practice-research networks should be developed in school psychology; (b) intervention research methodology must be expanded to take into account practice contexts of EBEI implementation; (c) practice guidelines could be developed to facilitate implementation of EBEIs in practice settings; (d) professional development opportunities must be created for practitioners, graduate faculty, and researchers; and (e) collaborative partnerships must occur across the diverse groups involved in the EBEI movement, especially those involved in generating the scientific database of EBEIs.

Consideration of the scientific basis of school psychology interventions and practices is important because schools are the largest provider of child mental health services. Furthermore, growing evidence shows a reciprocal relationship between academic problems and disabilities and mental health problems. Thus, a scientific basis for school psychology prevention, intervention, and related practices seems essential to the promotion of students’ academic success and mental health.

Following developments in evidence-based medicine, clinical psychologists developed a task force to review “empirically validated” treatments for child and adult mental health problems.

The scientific foundation of school psychology can be evaluated by examining practices in both graduate training programs and the practice of psychology in schools.

Graduate Programs

We surveyed graduate programs in school psychology to determine what they are teaching about EBEIs, to investigate their integration of EBEI training, and to understand any barriers to such training. Results of survey indicated:

– A relatively low percentage of school psychology graduate training directors were familiar with the EBEIs included in the survey. When averaging across all interventions listed, 29% of directors reported being “not familiar,” 30% reported being “somewhat familiar,” and 41% reported being “familiar” with the EBEIs.

– Exposure to the EBEIs occurred more frequently in coursework than in practice experience. When averaging across all EBEIs, 41% of directors reported that graduate students received “no exposure,” 39% reported students received “exposure,” and 30% reported students received “experience” with the EBEIs listed.

– Lack of time was rated the most serious challenge to EBEI training.

– A high percentage of training directors reported that students were taught to apply the criteria developed by professional organizations in psychology and education when evaluating intervention outcome research.

A number of interventions considered evidence based by the training directors fell outside the EBEIs incorporated in the survey. Some of these interventions have a weak evidence base.

No formal requirement within school psychology training programs mandates teaching EBEIs, but the commitment to include scientifically supportable interventions in the curriculum will probably grow. Moreover, a number of graduate training programs embrace a scientist-practitioner model and are the most likely to embrace an evidence-based practice framework in future graduate training.

Evidence-Based Practices In Schools

Several recent surveys of evidence-based practices in schools do not paint a very positive picture. A study of the prevalence of substance abuse curricula in U.S. schools showed that many middle schools continue to implement curricula that are either untested or ineffective.

Another study investigated school psychologists’ use of research in practice and the barriers to using research. Knowledge of effective intervention strategies and their use were closely matched, and respondents indicated they would like to use the strategies with greater frequency. Limited time was the top barrier to the use of all strategies. However, for cognitive behavior strategies and social skills training, practitioner training and the ability to adapt interventions to the school setting were significant factors limiting use; lack of support was indicated as a significant barrier to consulting with teachers, suggesting that some systemic support issues may be important.

Professional Standards And Influences On Practice

No formal requirements have made knowledge and use of EBEIs and practice guidelines prerequisites of licensure and credentialing. The major professional groups involved in licensure and credentialing currently do not mandate this level of practice, and national school psychology organizations do not mandate EBEI training as part of graduate program accreditation. Many textbooks used in graduate school psychology programs and publications of the National Association of School Psychologists promote a scientific perspective.

Psychology Practice

Five strategies may promote EBEIs:

1. Develop a practice-research network in school psychology.

2. Promote an expanded methodology for evidence-based practice that takes into account EBEIs in practice contexts.

3. Establish guidelines that school psychology practitioners can use in implementing and evaluating EBEIs in practice.

4. Create professional development opportunities for practitioners, researchers, and trainers. Forge partnerships with other professional groups involved in the EBEI movement.

The purpose of the strategies is to establish a link between research and practice that will help us better understand the effectiveness of interventions and promote their adoption and sustainability.

Looking Ahead: Barriers and Promising Trends

The study of graduate training programs revealed lack of time as one of the most serious obstacles to training in EBEIs. More efficient methods of adding EBEIs to existing coursework and enhancing faculty’s skills must be found. When formulating competency-based training agendas, program organizers must thoroughly integrate field supervisors and other clinical faculty who are involved in direct supervision of school psychology graduate students. The 3-year curriculum of specialist-level training represents another time constraint. Many doctoral-level programs have more options for incorporating EBEIs and related practices into courses.

A high percentage of trainers and students appear to be knowledgeable for evaluating research. Increasingly, it will be important for graduate students to be exposed to the coding systems. Understanding these criteria will promote understanding and selection of appropriate EBEIs.

It will also be important to examine not only interventions and prevention programs identified as evidenced based by the task forces but also other interventions and programs with a strong educational and prevention focus. Professional groups must disseminate information to school psychology trainers to help them select EBEIs. Students who receive EBEI instruction in graduate school should master these programs within a competency-based framework, ensuring that students acquire the skills in a practice context.

Finally, a promising direction in establishing EBEIs in school settings is adoption of multiple levels of intervention programs. Three-tiered systems of prevention are promising because students can progress through a series of interventions before receiving traditional services such as special education. It is critical to teach faculty and graduate students strategies for systemic change in schools so that such systems can be adopted. Such content will facilitate the adoption and sustainability of evidence-based practices and interventions.

The Psychology of Education

On the need for an individualistic educational psychology emphasizing on the central role of the learner

Education and psychology are related in more than just one way and the psychology of education could be related to educational principles in psychology or how education as a discipline is taught within psychology as a subject and how these two disciplines merge. This is primarily the focus of educational psychology which studies how human learning occurs, what ways of teaching are most effective, what different methods should be used to teach gifted or disabled children and how principles of psychology could help in the study of schools as social systems.

Psychological education would be completely focused on learning methods as structured or imparted according to psychological and individual needs of the students. Education would differ according to culture, values, attitudes, social systems, mindset and all these factors are important in the study of education in psychology.

Educational psychology is the application of psychological objectives within educational systems and psychological education as I distinguish here is application of educational objectives in psychological processes. The first focus of using psychology in education is more general and the second approach of using education in psychology is more individualistic. However as far as present study of educational approach to psychology is concerned, there is no difference between individualistic educational psychology and general educational psychology and all interrelationships between psychology and education are considered within the broad discipline of educational psychology.

However a distinction between the more general educational psychology and more specific psychological or individualistic education could help in understanding the nuances of individualistic study and give a subjective dimension to the study of psychology in education. This could also help in making learning systems more student based and according to the needs of culture, society, individual or personal factors. This sort of study with a focus on personal/psychological aspects of learning is not just about social objectives and objectives within educational systems but also about personal goals and objectives and the psychological processes involved in learning. There has to be a clearer demarcation between education in psychology as a general study and individualistic education in psychology as a more specific and subjective discipline.

As of now educational psychology encompasses a wide range of issues and topics including the use of technology and its relation to psychology, learning techniques and instructional design. It also considers the social, cognitive, behavioural dimensions of learning but it would be necessary to make education more personal and individualistic through a special branch with a psychological focus on education so that individual needs are considered. There could be two ways in which this branch of knowledge could evolve – either by strengthening psychological education or individualistic approach to the psychology of education or by having two distinct branches of general educational psychology and individualistic educational psychology.

As in client centered approach to psychology, a psychology of education should also include further research that would highlight the need for individualistic dimensions in learning. Learning psychology is the use of psychological theories for example that of Jean Piaget and Kohler in the study of learning techniques, especially among children. I have already discussed Piaget but briefly Piaget’s theory higlights different stages of learning in children and Kohler suggested that learning occurs by sudden comprehension or understanding, however I will not go further into learning theories here. Whereas the focus of educational psychology is on learning techniques per se and the role of the learner is considered only secondary, a branch of individualistic psychology in education could help in emphasizing the role of the learner considering not just their disabilities or giftedness but also their personality patterns. This focus on personality patterns brings out the central role of understanding psychology in educational systems.

Educational psychology studies both the personal approaches to education as in giftedness, disability, learning theories applied to children and adults, and the more general objective approaches to learning as the role of schools as social or cultural systems.

The psychology of education could include the following branches:

General Educational Psychology

1. Learning Systems – As studied from individualistic learning perspectives and generalized learning perspectives, a discussion of the different theories, practices and systems or techniques of learning is an integral part of educational psychology and especially central to general educational psychology.

2. Social Systems – The use of education in social, cultural and economic systems could be considered within the psychological context and this relates to the role of education in society.

Individualistic Educational Psychology

1. Learning Systems – Learning techniques and systems or methods will have to be in accordance with the needs of the children or adult participants and according to skills of the teachers. Needs vary according to personal traits and abilities and individual needs will have to be considered during the learning process.

2. Social Systems – Individual learning psychology will have to be studied according to specific social and cultural backgrounds of the learners and thus a more subjective study of learning approaches and centralized role of the individual in the learning process considering their social, cultural or intellectual background will have to be considered.